Optiv Security Goes Vertical With Launch Of Dedicated Financial Services Practice

Optiv Security has launched a dedicated practice to tackle the continued cybersecurity challenges faced by the financial services industry, the company said Wednesday.

The Financial Services Practice is a new group for the Denver-based company that brings together experts from the top levels of the financial services industry with Optiv's own deep technical and services expertise, according to Optiv.

Optiv was formed in August with the completion of the merger of Accuvant and FishNet Security. The new financial services practice focuses on providing consulting, operations and technology support around risk, compliance and cybersecurity, Optiv said.

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Optiv has made three key hires to back up the new practice, including Patrick Sheehan as the practice's vice president and managing director. Sheehan previously served as senior director of sales at FishNet. The company also added two key financial services experts: Marshall Lux, a 30-year industry veteran who previously served as chief risk officer at JP Morgan Chase, as senior adviser and Greig Arnold, former chief information security officer for companies such as JP Morgan Chase and KPMG, as vice president in the Optiv Office of the CISO.

By bringing together top tech and vertical expertise under the same roof, Sheehan told CRN, Optiv is proving that it takes a more holistic approach to security by truly understanding financial services industry trends and business needs.

"It's a collaborative approach with these organizations to understand what those key challenges are, and then for [Optiv] to innovate and drive thought leadership on what those clients need to mitigate risk," Sheehan said. "I think our uniqueness is being able to understand the business, coming up with execution programs, and ultimately aligning the technologies to [achieve that]," he continued.

Financial services, in particular, was an important vertical for Optiv to home in on, Sheehan said, as it represents an area with a "tremendous amount of success" as well as a rapidly changing and challenging market for security. Optiv works with about two-thirds of the Fortune 500 global financial services and insurance organizations, according to the company.

While not the market hit by the most breaches this year, financial services continues to be challenged with attacks. So far this year, there have been 21 reported breaches in the financial and insurance services industries, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

"From our standpoint, it's an evolving market," Sheehan said. "In order for us to be relevant, it's important that we understand the business of the financial services institutions. ... It's a strategic initiative within the company, and ultimately what we learn here in the financial services industry will help us grow."

The group has been well-received by customers so far, Sheehan said, and could possibly be extended into other verticals down the road.

"It's our first foray into vertical specialization, and if we have the expected success that we're anticipating, it should serve as the framework in other verticals moving forward," Sheehan said.